Session 1: Indigenous Water Law & the Emerging Priority of Water-Centric Planning
This session will explore the connections between Indigenous water laws and “water-centric planning.” Speakers will explore how Indigenous water laws are being revitalized and how they might be applied in conjunction with colonial laws to advance watershed sustainability.
Val Napoleon and Deborah Curran will begin by discussing initiatives led by Indigenous communities in partnership with the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Law Research Unit, and the project “Water Laws: Lessons from Indigenous and Colonial Stewardship.” Tara Marsden will describe innovative water initiatives and water-centric planning underway in B.C.’s Skeena region, where the Gitanyow Nation is leading efforts to protect and steward lands and waters.
Session 2: Watershed Governance Roundup: Lessons and Updates From On-The-Ground
This session will show that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to watershed governance in B.C.— many different entry points, functions, and forms of watershed governance are possible and are already emerging across the province. This panel will pick up on discussions from the previous Watersheds forums and will offer insights and discussion from three prominent and innovative watershed governance efforts from across the province, each of which is approaching the issues of watershed sustainability, reconcilation, and shared authority through unique pathways:
- The Cowichan Watershed Board: a long-standing co-chaired effort between Cowichan Tribes and the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and a leading example of co-governance at the community level and “reconciliation in action” for fresh water.
- The Nadleh Whut’en Water Management Regime: an approach based on Indigenous laws currently being implemented to protect water and set a standard for developments that affect water in the territory.
- We also anticipate updates from the Nicola Watershed Pilot project, which promotes the co-leadership of water resources by the Nicola First Nations and the Province of British Columbia (to be finalized).